September 30, 2013
By Kelly McHugh
The past month has been an exciting one for K-State Athletics. Here are a few moments to highlight the beginning of the Wildcats' 2013-14 seasons.
Senior Lillia Porubek named Arkansas Invitational MVP
After registering 15 kills, eight digs and two aces in K-State Volleyball's 3-1 victory over Saint Louis on Saturday, September 21, Porubek was named the Arkansas Invitational MVP. The win gave the Wildcats the Arkansas Invitational title with a perfect 2-0 record.
"Lilla plays with so much experience," said head coach Suzie Fritz after the tournament. "She takes smart swings and sees things at such a high level. She plays like a really experienced player, like a senior should. That's what we need from her."
Senior running back John Hubert tallies 2,000 career rushing yards
Hubert's 56 rushing yards in K-State's 48-27 win over Louisiana were enough to break the 2,000-yard rushing milestone for his Wildcat career. After back-to-back 900-plus yard rushing seasons in 2011 and 2012, Hubert's current mark of 2,183 career yards put him at seventh all-time behind J.J. Smith (1991-94), who sits at No. 6 with 2,210 yards.
"(When) you lose people, you have to have someone step up," Hubert said at the beginning of the season, "and I feel like it's right for me to step up this year. I've been here five years, I know the offense and I believe that I've really stepped up into that leadership role."
Senior Kaitlynn Pelger earns Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week
Pelger's season-high nine blocks against Arkansas and solid performance in the Arkansas Invitational earned her Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week on September 23. She was the only player in the Big 12 to rank in the top-10 in both blocks and digs the week of September 16. The honor was Pelger's sixth Big 12 weekly honor, but her first as a Defensive Player of the Week.
"I go into every game, every tournament wanting to do just the best I can, not just individually, but for the team," Pelger said, "and when we're clicking well and if the team's playing well if just comes naturally individually. It was a good weekend."
Senior Tramaine Thompson earns Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week
Thompson totaled 234 all-purpose yards against Louisiana on September 7, including a 94-yard kickoff return touchdown and taking a punt return 79 yards to the Louisiana three-yard line to set up another Wildcat touchdown. His performance earned him his first Big 12 Player of the Week honor, and he became only the third player in K-State football history with touchdowns via a rush, reception, punt return and kickoff return (Mack Herron and Yamon Figurs).
"It's been a difference maker in pretty much every game we've won," Thompson said about the K-State special teams corps. "We take a lot of pride in special teams. We practice it every day and it shows in our performance."
Junior Laura Galvan earns Big 12 Runner of the Week
After finishing first at the J.K. Gold Classic on September 7, cross country's Laura Galvan was named Big 12 Runner of the Week. With a 4K time of 13:49.72, Galvan anchored the women's team to a first-place finish at the J.K. Gold Classic, its first competition of the 2013 season.
"It felt good to win, but the most exciting thing was that we won as a team," Galvan said after the honor was announced. "My happiness was for everyone and it was pretty cool. I am excited and motivated to continue to do well and I look forward to the next competition."
Senior Kip Daily earns Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week
In the Wildcats' 37-7 win over Massachusetts on September 14, defensive back Kip Daily recorded his first interception and returned it for a 38-yard touchdown in the first quarter. He then followed with another pick in the third quarter with the Minutemen attempting to convert on a fourth-down inside Wildcat territory. The honor was the first of Daily's career and the only multi-interception game so far this season.
"It felt good. It was a first for me, but I need to keep on working hard and try to get back to that level," Daily said after the honor was announced. "I was excited about it, but I'm more excited about getting back to work."
Freshman Katie Brand earns K-State Invitational MVP and Big 12 Rookie of the Week
Brand, on track to become one of the best setters in Wildcat history, accounted for 98 of her team's total 123 total assists at the K-State Invitational on September 6-7. Her nearly flawless performance earned her tournament MVP and helped lead her team to win the K-State Invitational with a 3-0 record.
"It feels amazing," Brand said about getting tournament MVP, "but I think more than anything I feel great about how we played as a team and I think that's what I'm looking forward to the most (this season)."
K-State Tennis opens the Mike Goss Tennis Stadium
On September 7, tennis head coach Steve Bietau's nearly 30-year wait finally came to an end. With the ribbon cutting and dedication of the brand new Mike Goss Tennis Stadium, long gone are the days of K-State tennis traveling to Wamego to compete. Speaking at the dedication was Athletics Director John Currie, K-State provost April Mason, Bietau, 1981 alumni and former K-State men's tennis player Mike Goss and K-State Tennis All-American senior Petra Niedermayerova. K-State Tennis made good use of the new facility on September 20-22 as it hosted the K-State Invitational.
"Every time I walk out onto these courts I think of how lucky we are to have a beautiful facility like this. I've probably done it 50 or 60 times now and the feeling doesn't go away," Bietau said. "Just being able to share this with them has been a really cool thing."
Junior Tyler Lockett's Record Breaking 237 Receiving Yards
Junior wide receiver Tyler Lockett's 237 receiving yards in K-State's 31-21 loss to Texas on September 21 made Wildcat history as it was the most single-game receiving yards, jumping ahead of Jordy Nelson, who had 214 yards against Iowa State in 2007. Despite the loss, the game marked Lockett's fifth career 100-yard receiving game to put him in a tie for eighth in K-State history (with Greg Washington, 1988). His five 100-plus receiving yard games allowed Lockett to pass current receiver coach Andre Coleman, who had four 100-yard games during his years as a Wildcat (1990-93).
"Let me say, first of all, I don't know if it really matters who covers this guy," Texas head coach Mack Brown said of Lockett after the game. "This guy is for real. I'm telling you, and I've seen good receivers."
K-State Athletics Dedicates West Stadium Center
On December 15, 2012, the Dev Nelson Press Box was demolished to make way for a brand-new era of K-State Athletics. Just over eight months later, K-State celebrated the opening of West Stadium Center - the 250,000 square foot, $75 million addition to Bill Snyder Family Stadium complete with a monument to the Snyder family just outside the main gate.
"I would consent to it if (they) put 'family' on the stadium, and quite obviously that means a lot of things," Snyder said during the West Stadium Center dedication ceremony about the days when K-State talked about naming the stadium after him. "First and foremost, to me, it means my immediate family who have their fingerprints all over this, and it's their passion, it's their character, it's their sacrifice. We talked about truly making a family sacrifice - these are the people who have done it. All the children, all the grandchildren, they're just amazing, wonderful young people and I hope that all of your children and grandchildren grow up to be as ours have. We've been very, very blessed and fortunate."